Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfielder Yasiel Puig has the raw skills to be one of the best players in baseball. What he continues to battle, however, is keeping everything right in between his ears.
His mental mistakes can be overblown from time to time, with people perhaps too fixated on the fact that he “doesn’t play the game the right way.” That doesn’t mean that mental mistakes or the grind of the season don’t have their impact, however, and manager Don Mattingly wonders if Puig’s emotions are catching up with him during a recent slump.
“The season is long, and it wears you down…It’s part of learning to regulate yourself here, as far as rest or anything else. We’ve seen Dee Gordon and how much more consistent his approach is day in and day out now, staying at a certain level. I think Yasiel’s really emotional, and it’s hard to be really emotional and play 162.”
Mattingly is certainly right to identify these issues as the player’s manager and as a guy who played in the league himself, but why he continues to bring this stuff to public interviews is unknown.
Puig has overcome being questioned publicly in the past. He has also been good in high leverage games in his young career. It might not take much for him to get back on track as the Dodgers approach the playoff race. It’s worth remembering that even with this slump, Puig is batting .300/.387/.493 this season.
Puig is one of a number of key players on the Dodgers who can be unpredictable from time to time. If nothing else, they promise to be an entertaining team in the mix once again as fall baseball approaches.